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Bodywork Buddy Blog

Bodywork Buddy: business management software for the solo therapist that keeps you organized and makes tax time a breeze.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Five Lessons I've Learned [Guest Blog Post]

Today's post is a guest post from my friend and fellow MT Hillary - enjoy!

online scheduling for massage therapists

Five Lessons I've Learned From 
Running My Own Private 
Massage Therapy Practice

About two years ago I set out to become self employed in this crazy economy. It was a super scary leap of faith but now I am much more fulfilled by my work. I've learned some things about how to make my practice successful and here they are:

1. Organization.  
In the beginning, it was important for me to figure out my processes and make plans for implementation. I decided what my ideal client would be like, how I was going to retain ideal clients, how I would handle no shows, late clients, and confrontation.  These things are not always fun to think about but we all know that they will come up, sooner or later. 
Having a plan or a policy in place helps create consistency in your practice and will show clients that you are well prepared to address the issues that come up. It will also give you confidence in handling uncomfortable situations. You can even create “scripts” for no shows or inappropriate clients. Knowing what you’re going to say beforehand and having a plan of action will give you the professionalism needed to be successful.

2. Use tools to help you. 
An email list and an online booking option have been some of the most helpful tools I've added to my practice.  
Being a gen Y-er, I hate talking on the phone. I will avoid it at all costs so having an online booking system suites me well and my GenY clients. Even older generations prefer to book their own sessions. 
Anyone up for a game of phone tag? No thanks! 
I am a Bodywork Buddy user and absolutely love all of the features it has to offer. My clients love booking sessions at their leisure and the system is so user friendly. It also helps me keep track of my expenses and soap notes- (and a ton of other stuff too) LOVE that! It’s just one thing I don’t have to worry so much about and I feel like I’m covered!

3. Invest.  
Buy good equipment and supplies. It’s okay to spend some money on the front end for good stuff that will last forever. I saved up $1200 for equipment before going out on my own and sat down and decided what services I was going to offer, supplies I would need, and how to get the most bang for my buck.  My clients notice the quality and I love the fact that I have everything I need and I’m not shelling out lots of money every month replacing or restocking.

4. Work on yourself. 
Personal presence is something that is worth thinking about. 
How you communicate verbally and non-verbally will ultimately determine your success when working with other people.  
Some questions to ask yourself:
  • What is my posture saying about me?
  • Is my hygiene on point?
  • Do I look people in the eye?
  • Would I feel confident with me if I were a massage client?
Personal presence also means looking at the “energy” you’re putting out there. Are you aware of yourself? Do you listen to your clients or can they tell that you are off in la la land?  
When I was in massage school, we learned about “grounding and centering” ourselves. I was in my early twenties and had no clue what that meant but now I use this exercise EVERY DAY. When I begin and end my massages I try to calm myself and connect deeply to my inner mama bear - My fierce and nurturing center. It’s a powerful practice that I know my clients pick up on- and it tells them that I am confident and that they are safe to relax.

5. Seek out Sage advice. 
The moment that propelled me in to manifesting my massage practice is one I’ll never forget. I was sitting in a private yoga therapy session, feeling overwhelmed, unhappy, and stuck in my current work environment - my therapist took me on a sensory journey that was so powerful that it created Gaia Bodywork right then and there. She asked me what I wanted my practice to FEEL like, Then she asked me what I wanted it to SMELL like, TASTE like, and so on. With her help, I had set a powerful intention that became a reality. 
Business coaching or life coaching can be a blessing! Some of my favorite “sages” are Marie Forleo, Danielle Laporte, and my semi local bad ass biz coach Lauren Sheehan of the Feminine Rhythm.

I hope these suggestions have inspired you and your practice!

Love & Light 

Hillary owns  Gaia Bodywork in Richardson TX. and has been a licensed massage therapist since 2004.

                                  Thank you, Hillary!

order/chaos photo: 


  1. sooooo very much glad to read this. i started my bussiness one year ago and i have experienced all that you have mentioned. good points to work on, hoping to improve my services too

  2. Thank you so much. Starting up again in Cornwall soon at my own premises. x

  3. Hi are you still practicing?
    I would love some advice on advertising to attract more clients

    I currently pay £20:00 per mth and that's on Gumtree and Viva street which the user can easily navigate to find their nearest therapist.Up until about Christmas I had a constant flow of return clients and regularly got new customers every week. At some Pont's I was that busy I was having to turn ppl away! Lately tho I am lucky tovget 2/3 a week much to my dismay! I've tried keeping in touch with regular customers, lowering my prices and offering discounts for multi bookings.
    I can't drive and I am rubbish with websites.
    Please help

  4. Thankyou for shariig your experiences I value them and will put them in my cap for the journey ahead! X


  5. thank you so much for this post I have started my own business but gone mobile with it for now but it has helped me thank you its something which I can take on board x